The special edition of "Ringside at Del Mar," which aired Thursday evening, May 15, 2014 from the Del Mar Fairgrounds live on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes, is now in the history books. As projected welterweight sensation Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (20-0, 15 KOs) of San Diego moved one step closer to his shot at a World Title by defeating the veteran Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (32-9-1, 16 KOs), a gent who over a 16 year career has fought some of the best ever and won six titles.
What made Thursday night's triumph so special? This was Orozco's first fight in his hometown, in front of family and friends, in almost four years. For years, locals watched him develop, progress up the ranks and now he's a ranked contender, married with three adorable children. He was like this favorite son, who after being drafted by the Military, was then sent off to war and on his return got this much deserved welcome home celebration.
Getting back to his performance on Thursday night
From the outset, Orozco forced the action and not once took a backward step. His opponent’s strategy involved using his jab, circling left away from Orozco’s power and trying to potshot Orozco from a distance. Before you knew it, their heads brushed against one another, and blood started trickling down Orozco’s cheek from an inch long gash above the cheek and below his left ear. Between rounds, cut man Miguel Diaz did an amazing job of stopping the bleeding.
With the action becoming even fiercer in round two, both boxers went to work pounding the midsection. Then, it was Orozco who landed the big overhand right. With both boxers letting their hands go, their final exchange was so intense it continued well past the bell.
By round three, Orozco had gotten himself into a rhythm of countering off Honorio’s misses. At this point, blood came trickling down from Honorio’s left nostril.
Signs the match was going to be a real dogfight continued through round four. Each time Orozco landed a big overhand right, Honorio responded with the two and three punch combinations. Just before the bell, Orozco caught Honorio with another solid right that caught him flush. As a consequence, there was more blood, not only above Orozco’s right eye but now above Honorio’s right eye.
From round five on, it was downhill for Honorio as the Orozco power shots kept reaching their target and Honorio’s responses had less and less affect. In desperation, we saw Honorio switch to the southpaw stance in round eight.
After a point was deducted from Honorio in round nine for hitting on the back, it became clear the only way he could pull out a victory was by way of knockout. At the 1:20 point of round nine, Honorio got caught with a stiff jab that most likely broke his nose.
In the 10th and final round, the stouthearted veteran stood up to Orozco’s final assault which featured a three punch combination that would normally end anyone’s night.
With the final punch stats showing Orozco with 235 punches landed to 127 for Honorio, the judges’ decision was a foregone conclusion. The final tally, 100-89, 100-89 and 99-90 all for Orozco.
TV bout #1
In the opener for TV, a junior Featherweight six-round contest, it was 26 year-old Manuel “Suavecito” Roman of Paramount, CA (16-2-3, 6 KOs) going up against 35 year-old Jose “Cacho” Silveira (15-10-0, 6 KOs) of Kanasin, Yucatan, Mexico, who now trains at the Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside, CA. Silveira
This was one of those close-in fights, two guys hammering away in a telephone booth. Since Roman landed the more accurate and better leveraged punches, the winner was never in doubt. Then, in the final round, as if to add some intrigue, Roman had a point deducted after delivering a low blow. The point deduction had little to no bearing on the contest as all three judges scored the bout 59-54 in favor of Roman.
If you check Silveira’s record, you’ll notice he now has four wins, nine losses since October 24, 2010. To quote boxer/commentator Paulie Malignaggi, “You either get better or you get shop worn.” Silveira is the latter.
TV bout #2
The Co-Main event scheduled for 10 rounds in the Jr. Featherweight Division had 5’7” Manuel “Tino” Avila (22 years of age) from Vacaville, CA (14-0, 5 KOs) going up against the much shorter but more experienced, 5’4” David “Morita” De La Mora (25 years of age) from Tijuana, B. C., Mexico (25-5, 18 KOs).
In this one, Avila showed accuracy plus which led to the knockout victory at the 1:52 mark of round two. On the third of three knockdowns, Avila had De La Mora on his back and the count was waived. As they say troubles come in threes. This was the third straight loss for De La Mora, third straight by way of knockout.
TV bout #3
In a four round middleweight tilt, it was 42 year-old Jamal Harris (5-9-4, 3 KOs) from Los Angeles going down to defeat at the hands of 26 year-old Elias “Latin Kid” Espadas (6-1, 3 KOs) of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
This was a case of the up and comer prospect, Espadas, facing an experienced journeyman, Harris, who most likely felt he had a puncher’s chance and took it. All told, Harris landed four serious blows to the side of Espadas’ head.
On his way to victory, the more accurate and durable Espadas was able to absorb Harris’ heavy artillery and in the end scored well enough to get the win with scores of 40-36, 39-37, 39-37.
Interesting to note: Over Harris’ 10 years as a prizefighter (18 bouts), he has never faced anyone with a losing record and yet only once did he fail to go the distance.
On the undercard
In a super welterweight contest, it was 22 year-old Tevin Watts (3-0-1) of Lancaster, CA getting an unanimous decision victory over 28 year-old Elliot Seymour (1-8, 1 KO) of Pasadena, CA. This was a no-contest from the opening bell.
Interesting to note: Watts’ opponents had a combined record of (1-12-1). The only person Seymour ever beat, John Dunham, has an equally dismal record of (1-10-1).
Next, we have San Diego featherweight Prince "Tiger" Smalls (4-0-1) having little to no problem defeating Tijuana's Victor Serrano (2-3).
In the opening round, Smalls led off with three bell-ringers and finished the round with an impressive flurry. To his credit, Serrano was very durable and at no point did he show signs of caving in.
After Serrano went toe-to-toe with Smalls to close out the second round, the much shorter underdog had suddenly won over the crowd. Aside from the rare occasion when he did land a brief one-two combination, this fight was in the Smalls’ column every step of the way. The three scores of 40-36 for Smalls will attest to that.
We saved the shocker till last
Bout #6 had Chula Vista super featherweight Jorge "Tito" Ruiz (6-1-0, 2 KOs) facing the much shorter 23 year-old Walter Mechor Santibanes from Phoenix, Arizona (2-2).
In his four previous bouts (22 total rounds), all of which went the distance, Santibanes faced opponents with a combined record of (10-0-1).
In Ruiz’s previous 7 bouts (24 total rounds), he had never faced an opponent with a winning record and the combined record of his eight opponents was (4-11).
Now we go to Thursday’s contest which kind of reminds you of the Chris Arreola versus Bermaine Stiverne contest of last Saturday. Like Arreola, Ruiz dominated the scoring in the first three rounds. Aside from the opening round when the more excitable Santibanes landed three hard shots to the midsection, Santibanes spent the next two rounds thrashing about at Ruiz’s shadow.
Then, at the 1:16 point of round #4, the more patient tenacious, more powerful Santibanes let loose with this hammer of a right hand that landed flush to put Ruiz on his back. The stunned audience sat there with their mouths agape. They couldn’t believe what they just saw.
Despite his valiant attempt to beat the count, then look lucid and speak coherently, Ruiz had virtually no shot at convincing referee Jose Cobian that he could continue. This was Ruiz’s first time ever at being a knockdown victim. The first time ever that he was knocked out.
Once again the promoters outdid themselves. At this juncture, I would venture to say, it will be extremely difficult for them to come close to matching the excitement of the last two shows. Only time will tell.